A Boy's Own Story

A Boy's Own Story

4.7 7
by Edmund White
     
 

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For more than two decades, Edmund White has been widely recognized as America’s preeminent gay writer. “He has a novelist’s eye for the telling detail or the remarkable phrase and, like Proust himself, concentrates upon the minutiae of the past so that it might live again,” wrote The New York Times Book Review. “White possesses the

Overview

For more than two decades, Edmund White has been widely recognized as America’s preeminent gay writer. “He has a novelist’s eye for the telling detail or the remarkable phrase and, like Proust himself, concentrates upon the minutiae of the past so that it might live again,” wrote The New York Times Book Review. “White possesses the rare combination of a po-etic sense of language and an ironic sense of humor,” declared Newsweek. “[He] is unquestionably the foremost American gay novelist.” Commemorating the twentieth anni-versary of A Boy’s Own Story, this Modern Library edition presents White’s autobiographical novel together with an Introduction by prizewinning novelist Allan Gurganus and a new Afterword by the author himself.

A Boy’s Own Story, with equal parts stunning lyricism and unabashed humor, traces a nameless narrator’s coming-of-age in the 1950s. Struggling with his homosexuality, the narrator seeks the consolations of a fantastic imagination and fills his head with romantic expectations (“I believed without a doubt in a better world, which was adulthood or New York or Paris or love.”) His distant, divorced parents exacerbate his hunger for emotional connection, and he endures the unhelpful attentions of a priest and a psychoanalyst. In time, he recognizes the need to be loved by the men in his life and, in the surprising conclusion, escapes his childhood forever with one unforgettable act.

“With A Boy’s Own Story, American literature is larger by one classic novel,” wrote The Washington Post Book World. “Noreader, straight or gay . . . can fail to experience shock after shock of recognition in these pages, and few, I would bet, will be able to withhold a one-to-one sympathy from the unnamed narrator, even when he is being, by the standards of only yesterday, ‘shocking.’”

Editorial Reviews

Christopher Lehmann-haupt
This is any boy's story....For all I know, it may any girl's story as well....It is one of the two or three best novels I've read this season.
The New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle
Every so often a novel comes along that is so ambitious in its intention and so confident of its voice that it reminds us what a singular and potent thing a novel can be. One of these is A Boy's Own Story.
The New York Times Book Review
Edmund White has crossed J.D. Salinger with Oscar Wilde to create an extraordinary novel.
Washington Post Book Review
The story Edmund White tells is spellbinding–by turns incisively satiric, goldenly nostalgic, calmly voluptuous, and throbbing. . . . No reader, straight or gay. . . can fail to experience shock after shock of recognition in these pages, and few, I would bet, will be able to withhold a one-to-one sympathy from the unnamed narrator, even when he is being, by the standards of only yesterday, 'shocking.'
Chicago Sun-Times
The best American narrative of sexual awakening since Catcher in the Rye
Publishers Weekly
Enchanted, dreamy, elegant and exotic. . . . The book touches universal bases with smashing success.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375707407
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/2000
Series:
International Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.09(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author

Edmund White, author of thirteen books, is a Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Award for Literature from the National Academy of Arts and Letters. His Genet: A Biography won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lambda Literary Award. He lives in Paris, France.

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A Boy's Own Story 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I was almost turned off at first because this book's plot had a sort of loose chronological construction, but do not let that dissuade you! Each scene in this boy's life will start something inside you and will make you think in ways you never have. This was certainly one of the most moving and satisfying endings to a book I have ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A gay coming of age story set in the 50. The author did a great job!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a teenage female, I read this book. It evokes memories, and emotions no matter what your sexual orientation. Also, being a student at the high school that the author graduated from, I feel a certain attachment to the plot, and feelings. Anyone, who wishes to enrich their life, and worldly wisdom, should read this book, and change themselves for the better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most poignant and inticing novels I have read in a long time. The imagery that Mr. White uses is just gorgeous!! I had to read the book twice in one sitting just because I loved it so much!!